I don’t want to rain on anybody’s snowman, but I’m having a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit this year. It would be easy to blame the weather – it’s 61º here as I write this, and there’s no hint of winter save for the dead and dying leaves.
But no, it’s not the weather, something darker and more ominous than the clouded sky is eating at my soul. I’m told there is such a thing as SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – and that it is quite common this time of year.
But no, it isn’t simply the season, and I have the distinct impression it isn’t just me that has this feeling. There’s something afoot in the land … something worse than malaise… something akin to depression… something approaching ennui … something resembling resignation … something foreboding … something terrible returned from long ago to trouble our days … and our nights.
Surely, the economic news is not helping anyone’s mood, particularly those who recently have become unemployed and unemployable; nor is it good news for those who are used to doing a third of their annual business in this season of profligate spending in honor of the Prophet whose message was to care for the poor and needy.
Indeed, there is not much of any news of late that is good news. So we cling to old news:
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
But for some that old news is not sufficient unto the present day – a time in which we sense we are at the brink of some cataclysm. Are the prophecies of the Maya at hand? Could the Christian End-Timers finally be right and the Messiah is coming to judge the quick and the dead? Or is this the time of the rough beast Yeats warned about long ago.
The Second Coming
William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
In times like these it is all too easy to give up hope and fall prey to the rough beast of despair. But I will not go quietly into that cold dark night, for this is the season to celebrate what the ancients knew long before religion gave it a name.
In this season, as in seasons beyond the remembering of men, the sun that for many months has descended deeper and deeper into the dark regions at the edge of the earth will be reborn and begin to rise in the heavens, bringing the light once again to the darkness of our days.
Happy Holidays, and God bless us – every one.
©2008 Tom Cordle